Harvard University in the US has out-licensed a new surgical catheter technology to French start-up HoliStick Medical for further development and commercialisation.

Harvard co-owns this medical technology with Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Under the agreement signed between Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) and HoliStick, the latter gets exclusive worldwide rights to commercially develop the new surgical device.

The minimally invasive device was developed by a team of bioengineers and clinicians led by Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) professor Conor Walsh and doctoral student Ellen Roche.

It has been designed to repair holes in the heart and tissue defects in other organs by using flexible, deployable soft structures such as patches and eliminates the need for sutures or rigid products.

“The researchers hope that over time the device can help in offering lasting repair for certain organ defects, including a hole in the heart.”

Walsh said: “Ellen’s brilliant leadership of this project and the essential input of our engineering and clinical colleagues have resulted in the creation of a less invasive, less traumatic device that could really improve the way difficult tissue repairs are performed and, hopefully, reduce the need for procedures like open-heart surgery.”

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The researchers hope that over time the device can help in offering lasting repair for certain organ defects, including a hole in the heart, without the challenges or risks associated with existing more invasive surgical procedures.

Harvard OTD Strategic Partnerships executive director Sam Liss said: “To carry an early stage medical technology into clinical application requires both commitment and strategic sophistication.

“We’re thrilled to see this technology enter commercial development in the hands of a well-resourced startup that shares our vision of advancing innovation to transform patient care worldwide.”

HoliStick is supported by French venture capital company Truffle Capital that has $1.2bn in assets under management.